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Brave New World: Fashion in a post-pandemic world

The biggest change has been in the way people look at staying healthy and staying safe. What was once a conscious choice made proactively by people seeking a healthier lifestyle has become an essential need.

The current COVID-19 crisis is proof of how a lot of things can change in so little time. The past few months have changed the world forever leaving in its wake new behaviours and altered lifestyles that goes beyond just social distancing and the marked absence of hugs and handshakes.

The biggest change has been in the way people look at staying healthy and staying safe. What was once a conscious choice made proactively by people seeking a healthier lifestyle has become an essential need. People now are very conscious and extra cautious and careful of the air they breathe, the food they eat, the places they visit and even the things they touch.

Amongst all this, the effect has been felt in a segment that I did not expect to be associated so widely with ‘health’ just a couple of months ago: Fashion & clothing.

The most obvious and ubiquitous change in the way we dress of course is that Face Masks are now no longer considered optional but an essential part of the overall outfit, as important as wearing pants outside. Little wonder that big brands – recognising this new consumer need – have started getting into face masks. Many of them have already started looking beyond functional masks and integrating design elements on facemasks. But if everyone is going to have to wear masks all the time when outdoors, why not make it fashionable? Very soon we will have fashionable masks that make a style statement, the same way that shoes, watches and caps serve as fashion accessories to create a unique personal look.

But the change in the way we approach clothing in a post-COVID19 world is not limited to face masks alone but is much bigger and more permanent: that of turning the clothes we wear into our personal protection shields. This is where I feel the next fashion revolution will happen – Anti-Microbial Clothing (shirts, tees, trousers, jeans, etc.) that acts as a mask for the entire body, a personal shield of sorts that protects the wearer from harmful germs with their anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties. When we developed our nano-technology formulations – in keeping with BigPhi’s mission of using technology to enable better living and ensure everyday human health – even I did not foresee the extent to which the demand for these would rise so rapidly.

Restricted to personal care and cleaning products, terms like ‘germ-free’, ‘germ protection’ and ‘anti-microbial’ are now the buzzword in the clothing industry. Going forward, the term ‘smart wearables’ will apply not just to ‘smart gadgets’ but also to the original ‘wearables’ i.e. our clothes. This in fact, was the starting point for us at BigPhi, the idea that wearables which ensure better health don’t need to be restricted to just smart watches, fitness trackers or smart sneakers but that nano-technology can be added to clothes in the context of germ protection to make smarter everyday clothing and intelligent apparel.

The future belongs to companies that are agile enough to capitalise on this pressing market need for ‘germ-free’ protection and give consumers what they are looking for: the assurance of health and safety. This is where fashion brands like Turms (turmswear.com) hold an edge with their intelligent apparel which have had nano-technology in their fabric from day one. Turms is already offering clothes that have anti-microbial, anti-fungal properties that offers wearers protection from germs and keeps them safe, without compromising on comfort or style. In the coming days, more and more apparel brands and fashion houses will adopt this strategy and by this time next year, when someone says ‘anti-virus’, don’t be surprised if he’s not talking about software but the clothes he wears.


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Post Covid19 fashion

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